If you ordered a "vegetarian platter" and a "meat platter" of sandwiches for a business lunch, would you expect prawn/salmon on the vegetarian one?
This was the question I put to my Facebook and Twitter possé the other day after an incident at a well-known supermarket.
The supermarket local to work has a salad bar which also make up great value sandwich platters - ideal for a quick business lunch. A few weeks ago I ordered two vegetarian and one meat platters, collected them, laid them out in the conference room and left the delegates to it. After lunch, I was told that the meat and vegetarian sandwiches had been presented on the same platters (mixed up). It checked my copy of the order, noted that it specifically said 2 x veg, 1 x meat, rang the manager of the supermarket who apologised profusely, refunded the cost of the lunch and assured me that he would mention it to the catering staff.
This week we mad a similar order (two platters this time - one of each). I collected them but noticed the same error at the checkout - this time there was fish-based (prawn and salmon) sandwiches in with the egg, cheese and salad. The manager came over (a different manager this time) and listened to the situation. He was defensive from the start, suggesting that I had not explained the order properly, I should have preempted the situation and specified exactly what I wanted. He was also adamant that fish was completely acceptable on a vegetarian sandwich platter and that was the policy of the supermarket. After a long disagreement, where I pointed out that he was wasting my time, he agreed to get the platter redone. This was our closing conversation before the situation was concluded:
ME: Yes, please. A new platter would be acceptable as long as it can be prepared now.Erm...
HIM: So, would you like salmon on that?
So I opened it up to Facebook and Twitter with the question above.
The general consensus is that vegetarian is just that - no meat, no fish and the supplier should check first instead of presuming that fish is OK. There was confirmation that a person who eats some fish but no meat is a pescatarian. Even 'Gransnet' got involved in the conversation. Another worry is that the same supermarket provide green V markers on their packaging for vegetarian products. Does that mean that they may contain fish?
What are your thoughts? What would you have expected if you had made the same order? If you work in a catering environment, what are your standard procedures?
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The supermarket in this vegetarian debate was MORRISONS. For those of you who showed support on this blog post, you may be interested to know that they still haven't replied to my entry on their "Contact Us" form that I completed at work and they haven't used their "Right to Reply" on my blog even after speaking (on the phone) to their "Fresh Foods Media Relations Officer".